“An Ohio senator was captured driving during a government Zoom meeting on Monday — the same day the state was considering a bill proposing a crackdown on distracted drivers.” Wilson Wong, NBC News, May 7, 2021, 7:28 PM IST
A recent post on LinkedIn led me to an online article about the unfortunate Ohio senator who was captured driving during a government Zoom meeting on the same day that Ohio State was considering a bill proposing a crackdown on distracted drivers. Pity the poor man and how he has been ridiculed since by his colleagues and constituents alike. But what he was doing was all too common. We have all most likely been guilty of ‘do as I say, not as I do’ practices many times during our lifetimes.
As someone who has lost a very close and beloved brother in a traffic accident, I am all too familiar with the devastating consequences of split-second driver inattention. No one wants to be the cause of death or injury of another human being on the roads. A number of lives were severely impacted by our family’s loss, including the driver’s. And yet despite the statistics, in-car use of phones continues to be so common, while road accident deaths in Ireland have risen in 2020 by comparison with 2019.
The graphic below illustrates the results of a survey of 1000 Irish drivers by iReach on behalf of Toyota Ireland, as summarised by Neil Briscoe, journalist with the Irish Times. A staggering 52% of people acknowledged that they use their phones while driving.
And please don’t think that you are not a hazard because your car has inbuilt Bluetooth. The National Safety Council in the USA refers to drivers using Bluetooth hands-free devices as suffering inattention blindness caused by the cognitive distraction of a cell phone conversation.
“Drivers talking on hands-free cell phones are more likely to not see both high and low relevant objects, showing a lack of ability to allocate attention to the most important information. They miss visual cues critical to safety and navigation.” (Source: Understanding the distracted brain, Why Driving While Using Hands-Free Cell Phones is Risky Behavior’, National safety Council, USA, White Paper April 2012).
For many of us our car is our workplace, as we travel between home and the office, or between home and suppliers or clients. The fear of injuring another human being should be enough of a stick to prevent us using our phones while driving. However, as pioneers not only safety on the shop floor and in an office, but also road safety, Toyota have come up with a canny way of incentivizing us to put our phones away. This incentive comes in the form of the Toyota Face it Down app.
In partnership with the Road Safety Authority, FBD Insurance and Topaz, Toyota is rewarding all drivers, regardless of what make of car they drive, for putting their phone face down when driving, Points include a €50 reduction on car insurance from FBD Insurance or for a complimentary hot drink at Topaz outlets nationwide.
And the good news is that the app is working. According to Marie Colgan, Marketing Manager with Tapandoo “The FaceItDown App has a staggering 81% retention rate since launch on the 31st of July 2017. This is for Android only as Apple doesn’t share uninstall information. There’s also been a total of 28,772,805 kilometres driven safely since launch, split by 13,891,797 on Android and 14,881,009 on Apple. And a total of 48,128 rewards redeemed!
Let’s face it down together and get rewarded for making Irish roads safer. Download the Face It Down app today from the Google Play Store or Apple Store for free.